Tuesday is last chance to make your vote count

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 31, 2014

Anyone who has driven down Airline Highway in St. John the Baptist Parish during the morning or afternoon rush hours in the last two weeks couldn’t hide from the fact it’s election season.

The contested race for the parish’s District Attorney’s seat has certainly energized the political bases of incumbent Tom Daley and challengers Bridget A. Dinvaut and Geri Broussard Baloney. Their presence on area street corners and enthusiastic sign waving are reminders of just how important Election Day is for this parish, the River Region and the entire state.

The polls open at 6 a.m. for Tuesday elections and close at 8 p.m. Voters in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote, according to state officials.

Everyone should be prepared to provide photo identification in order to vote.

As always, voters are not allowed to bring or wear campaign paraphernalia at the polls. We should report all in violation.

Many aren’t waiting for Election Day, as early voting concluded Oct. 28, with 9,014 votes cast in the River Parishes.

St. John Parish was the individual parish leader with 3,623 votes cast, followed by St. Charles Parish (3,530) and St. James Parish (1,861).

A report by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office showed of the votes registered in St. John, 2,161 were cast by black voters, 1,397 by white voters and 65 were cast by those who did not identify as either. The gender breakdown was 2,113 to 1,510, female to male.

For political parties, 2,675 registered Democrats voted, compared to 592 Republicans and 356 from other parities.

In St. James, 970 votes were cast by black residents, 881 by white voters and 10 were cast by those who did not identify as either. The gender breakdown was 1,082 to 779, female to male.

For political parties, 1,500 registered Democrats voted, compared to 233 Republicans and 128 from other parities.

In St. Charles, 2,624 ballots were cast by white voters, 826 by black voters and 80 were cast by those who did not identify as either. The gender breakdown was 1,884 to 1,646, female to male.

For political parties, 1,704 registered Democrats voted, compared to 1,313 Republicans and 513 from other parities.

Overall, 237,881 votes were cast early in Louisiana, where the United States Senatorial election featuring Mary Landrieu and a host of challengers including Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness tops the statewide pecking order.

Compared to four years ago when U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran a successful reelection campaign, approximately 125,000 voted early.

When Landrieu was last on the ballot in 2008 — an election that featured Barack Obama’s first run for the presidency — more than 290,000 people voted early in Lousiana.

State leaders said when all votes are tabulated Tuesday, the turnout is expected to top out at no more than 50 percent of registered voters.

As far as statewide early voting speculation, the Times-Picayune reported the black voter turnout was far down from 2008, when Landrieu was last on the ticket, which could be damaging because “a high turnout among the black community would likely be good news for Landrieu, who has typically had strong support among black voters.”

The Advertiser of Lafayette reported although more than half of early voters were registered Democrats, many lean conservative.

“A Suffolk University/USA Today poll of 500 likely voters found that although more registered Democrats answered the questions, more considered themselves Republicans,” the newspaper reported. As usual, Louisiana voters can’t quite be put into an easy-to-judge box. Many of the races statewide, and certainly those in the River Parishes, are still toss-ups as the hours tick away to Election Day Tuesday.

Please make sure your voting voice is heard.

Stephen Hemelt is general manager and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or stephen.hemelt@lobservateur.com.